By 6:30 a.m., a full hour and a half before the store would open, about two dozen people were already in line. They waited patiently, not for the latest iPhone, but for something far more basic: groceries.
“Whatever I can get,” said Katherine Huga, 23, a mother of two, describing her shopping list. She gave a shrug of resignation. “You buy what they have.”
Venezuela is one of the world’s top oil producers at a time of soaring energy prices, yet shortages of staples like milk, meat and toilet paper are a chronic part of life here, often turning grocery shopping into a hit or miss proposition.
Some residents arrange their calendars around the once-a-week deliveries made to government-subsidized stores like this one, lining up before dawn to buy a single frozen chicken before the stock runs out. Or a couple of bags of flour. Or a bottle of cooking oil.
So life is increasingly tough in Venezuela. Am I sympathetic? Not towards the many who chose to plunder their compatriots by voting for Hugo Chavez. Instead they’ve been plundered themselves, first by his regime’s currency debasement and then by the price controls which this prize buffoon is increasingly imposing. We can look on now, but don’t think it can’t happen here.